Cyber Security News of the Month - February 2023
Welcome to our monthly cybersecurity news round-up
Munster Technological University Breach
Munster Technological University was impacted by a significant security breach that affected 4 of its campuses. The ransomware attack became apparent over the February Bank Holiday weekend in Ireland and the university shut the affected campuses for the Tuesday and Wednesday after the new national holiday.
Android users should be cautious of malicious reward apps on the Google Play Store, as researchers have found multiple apps flooding the platform. These apps impersonate fake reward apps, promising virtual coins and other rewards that users can cash out, but bombard them with ads and never allow them to withdraw their rewards. To avoid falling victim to such scams, users should only download apps from trusted developers and review permissions an app requires before allowing them. While Google implements a robust vetting process, some apps still go rogue after garnering thousands of downloads, so users must remain vigilant.
OpenSSL, a popular encryption library, has released security updates for its open-source versions, including the "old" 1.0.2 version series, which is only available to customers who pay for premium support. The updates include OpenSSL 3.0 series (version 3.0.8), OpenSSL 1.1.1 series (version 1.1.1t), and OpenSSL 1.0.2 series (version 1.0.2zg). The OpenSSL project used to have four-part version identifiers, which led to confusion and a dilemma on what to do after version Z-for-Zulu. To avoid confusion, the current version series follows the popular-at-the-moment X.Y.Z three-number versioning system.
The increasing sophistication of phishing scams means that employees must be alert to their different forms, including emails that look innocuous or tap into fear, voice phishing or vishing, and multifactor authentication fatigue attacks. Human behaviour plays a critical role in keeping individuals and organizations safe from these threats, making regular training and awareness of data security essential. While multifactor authentication fatigue attacks are a relatively new and sophisticated method, phishing emails remain the most common threat, emphasizing the need for organizations to ensure that their employees are trained to identify them.
The United States Marshals Service (USMS), a bureau within the US Department of Justice responsible for law enforcement activities related to the federal justice system, has confirmed a ransomware attack on a stand-alone system that exposed law enforcement sensitive information, including personally identifiable information related to subjects of USMS investigations, third parties, and certain USMS employees. The affected system does not include USMS' witness protection database. The incident is being actively investigated as a major incident, and the compromised system has been disconnected from the USMS network. This is not the first data breach reported by USMS.
A new report by Vodafone Business shows that 54% of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have experienced some form of cyber-attack in the past year, a 15% increase compared to 2020. The research found that cyber criminals have identified SMEs as potentially vulnerable due to new working practices, small IT teams, and a lack of solutions knowledge. The rise in online attacks comes as more than a third of businesses in the UK use a hybrid working model. Vodafone is calling on the UK government to raise awareness of current initiatives to support the delivery of local cyber security skills and provide the required funding to run a targeted ‘Cyber Safe’ awareness campaign for SMEs.
Hot Topic Of The Month
ChatGPT, a language model developed by OpenAI, has piqued the interest of cybercriminals due to its ability to generate high-quality written content. Hackers have been experimenting with ChatGPT to recreate malware strains and techniques and write malware code. The AI serves as a tool for attackers to bridge gaps in their scripting skills and create base templates of code relevant to their objectives. The ability to modify attacks in millions of different ways quickly and deliver them with automation improves compromise success. While ChatGPT has restrictions in place to prevent the creation of ransomware and other malware, clever rewording can get around them. The use of AI chatbots like ChatGPT will be a game-changer for threat actors, who will have the capability to modify malicious code quickly to bypass cybersecurity defenses, leaving organizations unprepared for the changing threat landscape.
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